US Coast Guard commandant notes changes in the South and East China Seas
US Coast Guard to complement American naval forces in the Indo-Pacific Region
MANILA – Changes have taken place in the South China and the East China seas from small spits of sand that have been built up and turned into islands with military capabilities and defensive systems.
This was how US Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Karl L. Schultz described the developments in this part of the world in a teleconference with journalists from different countries last Thursday, July 29.
“What the Coast Guard as a contributor to the U.S. naval Department of Defense total force layout, what we really ascribe to is free and open waters in the Indo-Pacific for the free flow of commerce, for - we look for responsible adherence to the rules-based order, modern maritime governance,” he said.
He said he sees a lot of regional naval forces that “look an awful lot like the Coast Guard.”
Admiral Schultz said there is a lot of white-hulled ships that replicate horizontal or about 45-degree angled stripe on the bow and “they call themselves a coast guard.”
He added their presence brings to the region “a type of behavior” that they think is important to keep commerce open and peacefully resolve disputed areas and working through international criminal courts.
Explaining his assessment of the area, the US Coast Guard commandant said they are focusing on the free and open oceans.
“And I think when there are disputed areas, we should work through the established mechanisms for resolving them,” he said. He added there are coercive and antagonistic regional actors that are “running down fishing boats in disputed areas.”
He further said the US Coast Guard will continue to contribute forces and sailors to attain their mission of keep the sea lanes open and assuring everyone of freedom of navigation. (Melo M. Acuña)
Admiral Karl L. Schultz, US Coast Guard Commandant. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)